Consumer Compliance Outlook: Second Issue 2020

A Message from Governor Bowman*

by Governor Michelle Bowman

Governor Bowman

I hope this message finds you, your families, and your colleagues in good health. On behalf of the Federal Reserve, thank you for the vital and ongoing role you and your institutions play in responding to the economic conditions resulting from COVID-19. In response to the crisis, we have taken several steps to assist you in better serving your customers and communities.

At a time of extraordinary challenges for our nation, community bankers are making important contributions to address the financial needs of families and businesses. Bankers across the country responded swiftly to implement effective measures to protect employees and maintain access to financial services. You have worked creatively to find solutions for your institutions and for those affected by this crisis.

The current environment poses unprecedented levels of uncertainty for the financial services industry given the size, scope, and nature of the pandemic. Economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus have created tremendous strains in financial markets and threatened to impair the flow of credit in the economy. Community banks have a long history of facing and overcoming financial crises. Today, community banks are at the forefront in providing credit quickly to businesses that need it. With the support of the Federal Reserve and other agencies, you are playing a crucial role in facilitating Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses. In a recent Independent Community Bankers of America survey, despite many challenges, community banks reported they had each made an average of 166 PPP loans during the first round of funding. This success speaks to the flexibility, responsiveness, and commitment of community banks to their customers and communities. Your efforts in response to this event will contribute to the recovery of the economy.

At the Fed, we are doing everything we can to help American families and businesses weather this difficult period. Once the public health issues have been mitigated, state and local authorities will allow businesses to reopen, and people will begin to come back to work. Throughout this time, we will continue to use our tools as appropriate to support a robust economic recovery. As you know, the Federal Reserve has, in partnership with other agencies, and at the direction of Congress, taken steps, unprecedented in size and scope, to assist the economy. The accompanying table lists the actions regulators have taken to respond to the crisis and support community banks and their efforts to meet the financial needs of customers.

The Federal Reserve appreciates community banks and the indispensable role they play in our response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage you to share any concerns, challenges, and commendations at Thank you for your continued efforts to support the economy.

*This article is also being published in Community Banking Connections, a Federal Reserve System publication focusing on safety and soundness topics.